Friday, March 24, 2017


On our last day in Chicago, we started off visiting the Renaissance Collaborative, a subsidized housing program for those experiencing chronic homelessness. The mission of the organization is to create economic self-sufficiency for the community. We spoke with administrators and learned about the housing, mental health, and employment programs available to the residents. The employment programs were particularly notable, and included a wide range of opportunities for training in fields such as landscaping, janitorial work, and hospitality. For those who desire to complete their education, the center also provides resources for them to obtain GEDs, college degrees, or certifications. To actually help place residents in stable jobs, TRC offers numerous workshops on skills such as resume writing and interviewing. We also listened to the residents' stories about how TRC helped provide them with the resources to get back on their feet and received a tour of a sample apartment. The administrators also showed us around a former YMCA next door, and we took the chance to snap a group picture:

After visiting TRC and grabbing some lunch downtown, we had a meeting with the Director of Innovation and Impact at All Chicago. All Chicago serves as a hub for nonprofits and organizations to collaborate and receive funding in order to tackle homelessness in the city. The organization's main program is their Emergency Fund, which provides millions of dollars to families in need of short-term financial relief. Their two other departments include the Chicago Alliance and the Learning Center. The talk differed from our previous discussions with organization leaders because it focused mainly on the supply side of homelessness and how policies can make housing more affordable to those in need.

Near All Chicago we enjoyed a quick snack from Garrett's Popcorn, arguably the most popular popcorn store in Chicago. We then traveled to Boystown, a historically LGBTQ neighborhood. After exploring Halsted St and learning about the area, we grabbed dinner at the Chicago Diner, which serves entirely vegetarian comfort food.

At night we visited the John Hancock Center and got a quick glimpse of the city from the 96th floor. Then we walked a short distance to Sprinkles, and grabbed some cupcakes before heading back to the Maria Kaupas Center.

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